Winter maintenance can put your building and your team under unnecessary added pressure. As the weather changes, so you should adjust your preventative maintenance schedule to avoid disruptions. Preparing for winter doesn’t need to be a mammoth task. Follow our comprehensive winter checklist to cover the most important bases as winter approaches.
HEATING AND HVAC
You need to check that heating systems are in good working order in anticipation of a drop in temperature. With such a strong reliance on mechanical ventilation, changing air filters will give you the assurance of good air quality – and readying cooling systems for dormancy or the shift to heating should be kept in mind.
Energy consumption tends to rise during winter months – with real potential for power cuts and disruptions. This is where factors like emergency lighting and contingency planning is so important – but it is also a good time to look towards energy efficient alternatives within the built environment, such as well-maintained equipment and low-energy lighting.
GENERAL BUILDING CONDITIONS
Winter can wreak havoc on facilities. Cracked pipes are one such example. Another is ground upheaval and the damage it can cause to sidewalks, parking areas, and sidewalks. Adding icy conditions to uneven surfaces can create real concerns around health and safety – and compromised foundations and structural failures can be costly to repair.
Leaks and cracks, doors and windows
Concentrating on cost and energy efficiency means nothing if heat is escaping from your building. Do thorough pre-winter inspections of buildings on a regular basis in the build-up to winter to ensure cold air doesn’t leak into the building through cracks.
Similarly, carefully scrutinise the seals and air-tightness of doors and windows with this in mind. Give special attention to entry and exit doorways and how to reduce exterior airflow through these points.
Mould and damp
It is important to identify areas of moisture collection and seepage. Damp getting into walls can cause mould and mildew, which can compromise air quality. The good repair of buildings, coupled with adequate ventilation, is an important way to safeguard workplace health.
Roof maintenance, guttering, clearance, and gritting
Ensuring your roof is in good repair is especially important in winter months to prevent leaks and maximise energy efficiency, but also to aid in avoiding trips and slips. Your guttering contributes to the latter too, with puddles forming and freezing – sometimes in walkways and access paths. Gutter blockages tend to be exacerbated by winter conditions, which can damage drainage systems. Identify accumulation points and devise a removal plan for build-ups of snow and ice. Have a snow removal plan in place, as well as a strategy for excess snow.
WINTER FIRE SAFETY
Heating, storage of flammable materials, and gas line corrosion are all factors which can result in elevated fire risks in winter. Check your electrics and gas connections and ensure fire doors, emergency lighting, extinguishers, and alarms are all prepared for emergencies.
A few different elements of your grounds should be kept in mind as winter approaches. Gritting and path integrity should be considered on this front, but it is equally important to trim dying branches and keep an eye on fencing that may collapse under snowfall or in bad weather. January and February also mark mole season – something to bear in mind for aesthetic and pest control purposes.
Formidable winter facilities maintenance uses a risk assessment for guidance to define clear processes and procedures during the winter months. These should be reviewed between October and April to establish best practice. Also, don’t forget to send through your winter maintenance plan to your insurer and keep all winter maintenance related records for three years or more.
If winter maintenance is a daunting thought, Voltix Services has a team of professionals who can help. Meet your compliance requirements and keep your commercial premises in tip-top shape for minimal disruptions to productivity during colder weather. Contact Voltix Services today.